A group of middle school students recently had the opportunity to step out of the classroom and learn about manufacturing firsthand. Pilkington’s team at its Rossford, Ohio, plant had been seeking outreach opportunities to teach students about manufacturing even before setting up the tour in July.

Members of the Rossford team have visited various local schools in Ohio and Michigan for several years, according to Rossford plant manager David Imbrogno. He says that being productive members of the communities in which the company operates is a major focus for the NSG Group, including the Rossford team.

“Wood County Economic Development executive director Wade Gottschalk reached out to NSG to arrange for this particular tour at Rossford,” he says. “This event was facilitated on behalf of Wood County by youth specialist Matthew Meeks. This is the second school tour at the Rossford facility this year.”

The students learned about all facets of float glass manufacturing on the tour: raw materials, melting, forming, annealing, cutting, packaging and delivery.

“This event had an increased focus on manufacturing safety, including taking care of each other at home and in the workplace,” says Imbrogno. “Several students wore personal protective equipment that our team members wear to aid in safely completing the needed tasks in making glass.”

Imbrogno adds that the purpose of the event and the company’s continued outreach to local schools is to better explain what manufacturing looks like today.

“The glass making industry has grown safer, cleaner and more effective over the years,” he says.

While the Rossford plant has a large automotive focus, NSG Group is in the process of building its first new float glass line in the U.S. since 1980. It is set to open in nearby Luckey, Ohio, at the end of next year and could create up to 150 new jobs. The plant will produce transparent conductive oxide coated glass to support its key customer, First Solar, which is also opening a new facility in the area this fall, according to the Sentinel-Tribune. Introducing middle schoolers to the manufacturing process early could create interest in those jobs later.